JIS News

A novel written by renown author Beverly East, and based on the Kendal rail crash, was launched at the Jamaican High Commission in the United Kingdom (UK) this week. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Kendal rail crash in Manchester, Jamaica. Titled ‘Reaper of Souls’, the book, which has fictional characters, is very personal for Ms. East who lost 14 members of her family in the crash. She said while the book took five years to write, it was a ’20 year journey’. “I did a lot of crying in the writing of the book. When I started doing this I did not realise how difficult it was going to be,” she said. She was 18 and living in the United Kingdom when she found out about the tragedy. The author said her father never talked about the crash but that it was a cousin who told her of the horrific incident. Ms. East said that the main characters in her book are fictitious, but some are loosely based on some of her relatives. The stories that are portrayed, however, were taken from survivors whom she spent years interviewing. She said most of the Kendal survivors did not want to speak of the crash, and many were still traumatized by the incident.
The High Commission launch was organized by Write Thing Associates and hosted by well known UK radio personality, Angie Le Mar with excerpts of the book read by actors Wills Johnson and Angela Witter. Ms. East was commended for her work by High Commissioner, Burchell Whiteman. British Member of Parliament, Dianne Abbott described ‘Reaper of Souls’ as a brilliant book that was meticulously researched. bringing to life the people and the events surrounding the Kendal crash.

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